Memorial Drive

Thank you to the publisher, Ecco Books, for the review book.

“Perhaps this division is a metaphor [sleep paralysis] for the way I’ve lived all these years: the conscious mind struggling to move on, but the body resistant. The mind forgetting, the body retaining the memory of trauma in its cells.”

Memorial Drive, Natasha Tretheway

When I first saw the cover and title of this book I immediately thought, I want to read this for several reasons. Little did I know I would be forced to look at places and streets familiar to me, differently from this point forward.

When reading the synopsis I knew, I would come away from this book changed after examining the “contours of loss” Trethewey pens in the pages of her memoir.

Three decades is a long time to get to know the contours of loss, to become intimate with one’s own bereavement. You get used to it. Most days it is a distant thing, always on the horizon, sailing toward me with its difficult cargo.”

I am incapable of formulating words that can convey the urgency of wanting someone to do something differently so Trethewey’s mother would be alive and well, but knowing very well, that’s not the outcome.

Trethewey says “Bereavement…always on the horizon, sailing toward me with its difficult cargo.”. Her statement reminds me of something I heard at a memorial service for a very dear friend and I try to remember it when moments of grief and loss are overwhelming, brought to the shore of my heart—grief is not something we get over, it’s something we help each other get through.

I am emotionally spent and taxed after moving through memories and events Trethewey recounts that culminated in the murder of her mother. The range of emotions while reading (+ listening author narrates) for what Trethewey has carried with her for so long. Seeing her during a virtual book event discussing the book and seeing her shed tears. All of which make it difficult for me to say anything as my own tears flow…

I’ll end with this passage from the book because the metaphor of this loop so poignant.

If trauma fragments the self, then what does it mean to have dominion over the self? You can try to forget. You can go a long time without making a full revolution, but memory is a loop. When I moved back to Atlanta, a decade and a half after my mother’s death, I would go miles out of my way to avoid driving 285. I thought that was enough, that if I didn’t drive that loop, the worst memories would be kept reliably at bay. The truth, however, was waiting for me in my body and on the map I consulted to navigate my way around: how the outline of 285 bears the shape of an anatomical heart imprinted on the landscape, a wound where Memorial intersects it.

Memorial Drive, Natasha Tretheway

Published by booksbythecup

Lover of good books and tea

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